A Matter Of The Sibling Rivalry

If you’ve listened to the recent podcasts you’ll know that, around Valentines day, we discussed the difficulties we all face as adults when it comes to holding down a relationship and maintaining a decent profile when it comes to gaming.

For those of us that have been exposed to gaming at an early age I think that this balancing act is a skill that we have naturally acquired over time. That’s not to say that we’ve in any way perfected it!

I’m sure there will still be instances where I have disagreements with the wife over the time I spend gaming, but at the end of the day I know that the marriage and our time together is the most important thing we have. Getting her involved in gaming isn’t easy as she doesn’t find it accessible or natural as she wasn’t really brought up playing video games in the same manner that most of the 30-something male population were. For me gaming was an escape as a child. I lived on a very rough estate where making friends was only a shade away from getting stabbed.

A lot also stems from the predominantly male oriented advertising of the 80’s and 90’s that won’t have helped. In this day and age there are more and more female gamers who are breaking down the misconception that games need to specifically be created for a female market in order for them to get involved. (Holly!) This is because these 20-somethings are being exposed to games earlier on with the notion that gaming is an accepted part of everyday life. When it was a relatively new field 30 years ago technology was always considered a male environment, and it still is to a certain extent. Having worked at software companies and for I.T. departments in various others it is heavily male populated. Shame really.

There are the connotations of being geeky or a nerd within this field but I believe that stereotype is breaking down. Slowly. I appreciate that women don’t necessarily want to be associated with the same branding iron and I know female coders who wouldn’t dare touch a computer game and there’s nothing wrong with that. Some people just aren’t in to it and gaming addicted ‘partners’ just need to be weary to give relationships priority and not let the console or computer rule their lives.

Gender considerations aside, I wanted to skip back to the days where the only person I had to fight with over gaming was my brother.
Warning! A few old consoles and systems of yesteryear are about to be mentioned.
For any younger audience I should tell you now that the electronic capabilities of your microwave is more advanced than the consoles and computers of the past and some had to take ten minutes to load games in from cassette tapes!

C64 LogoIt started with the Commodore 64. Back then we couldn’t afford to have TV’s in every room so my brother, Michael, had the luxury of this magnificent specimen of computing gracing his desk and not I, so this naturally led to a few issues with who could play what and when. He did have the best reason of telling me to get out of ‘his’ room and being older, bigger and stronger how could I argue. In the end we had to agree times that we would play games individually but the most fun came when we choose to compete against each other.

Because of the long loading times each game had to be carefully selected for what form of ‘competition’ it would offer us, so even the selection process would be the start of our squabbling.

The Light Fantastic pack for the C64 was superb for its day with Army Days, Gangsters, and Time Traveller allowing us to pretend we were skilled marks-men of old. We would take it in turns to beat each other for accuracy or speed and this extended on to other titles like the original Ghostbusters video game or Football Director, both of which don’t have a two player option. We just wanted to out-do each other wherever possible in whatever genre was available.

We had immense fun with the Last Ninja series which I have mentioned in a previous article. I think part of my love for the series is how we explored the levels together and then put what we had learned on each others alternate goes so that ‘we’ could progress. Two heads are better than one after all.

Some of the simpler games like Paradroid and Bombuzal were also good to pit each other against with one the first favouring the lucky and the latter rewarding the more skillful opponent on the day. Bombuzal would make a superb mobile app and I could see it being shared socially in epic proportions. Maybe I would compete against my brother again?

Sports games like Emlyn Hughes International Soccer were great to play head-to-head until we found the glitch that allowed you to lob the ball from the half-way line and always score and Speedball 2 was always a good one to vent some frustration but this often led to all-out fist fights.

Sonic the HedgehogMoving on to the consoles we played a shed load of Sonic and kicked the crap out of the original FIFA games (yes, I know I’m old), but spent countless hours in PGA European Tour on the Sega Megadrive. The shear frustration of hitting a bad stroke and having to live with the outcome became like competing in a real life tournament. The pressure was on.

I also remember a stack of time being poured in to Top Ranking Tennis on the original Nintendo Game Boy where we were constantly battling over who could get further in the tournaments and also get further up the international rankings. I think I might have lost that due to the excessive amount of time Michael spent practicing. Catchy music.

I often think that if we’re still living in the same household that we would continue the rivalry with something like Tiger Woods on the Nintendo Wii or maybe on Sports Resorts. Who knows, it might happen some day. Only problem with the Wii is that it is a whole heap more physical.

This time I’m bigger and he better be prepared for bruises.

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